By: Virginia Volkman
For: Red Rock News
Date: November 1, 2013
Remembering Phyllis Lindberg
Phyllis Lindberg had a forty-year history with Sedona Public Library, and she was still active as a volunteer right up to her untimely death in October. She was a special person who you felt lucky to meet. And once you got to know her, you remembered her forever.
I first met Phyllis in 1978 when I interviewed for a job with the Library and she served on the selection committee. She instantly made me feel comfortable. I was hired as director and had the pleasure of working with Phyllis for almost seven years. During that time I watched her extend that same heartfelt welcome to the many patrons who visited the Library.
Phyllis was a member of the Library Board of Directors from 1979 through 1981. After her term on the board ended, Phyllis was hired as the first paid employee other than the library director. The Library was located on Jordan Road then. She did everything from ordering books and paying bills to answering reference questions. She was a good listener; you knew she cared about what you had to say. Her friendly approach made her an excellent reference librarian.
Phyllis was the bridge between the old Library on Jordan Road and the new building on White Bear Road. Before the move, she helped find space when we didn’t think that another shelf could fit in the building or another book could fit on a shelf. In the new building, she helped design the interior layout, carefully planning where each shelving unit would be located and where the furniture would be placed.
Phyllis coordinated the logistics for the move to White Bear Road and made the transition a smooth one. Patricia Lowell fondly recalls that Phyllis donned a t-shirt with the words, “She who must be obeyed.”
In the ensuing years in the new building, and before the Internet, Phyllis was the go-to person if you had a question about the natural world. She was a font of knowledge in the areas of botany and the animal kingdom (especially birds). With incredible dedication, she collected and identified local spring flowers to display at the Library and taught others to carry on the library exhibit. She then took on the wildflower display at the U. S. Forest Service Visitor Center.
Phyllis worked as an employee of the Library until 2001 and later returned as a volunteer. Always full of adventure and energy, the same year she announced her retirement, she also hiked the Grand Canyon rim to rim. In her words, “I never tire of getting out into this magnificent country of ours to enjoy the natural world.”
Her enthusiasm for hiking was contagious. My introduction to Red Rock State Park by moonlight was with Phyllis as my expert guide. Always the caregiver, she made sure you were comfortable and properly outfitted. One of my favorite photos is of my then seven-year-old daughter on Steamboat Rock with Phyllis’s hat atop her head.
It was my good fortune to return as director in 2009 and once again have the pleasure of working with Phyllis. We had kept in touch over the years and she was a family friend and a guiding influence in my career.
As we plan for the Library’s future, we’re again looking at the building’s interior layout to make better use of existing space. I recently discovered a file with pages of Phyllis’ meticulous hand-drawn floor plans, a reminder of the time and talent she gave to the Library. Her influence will long be felt by those of us who continue to build on her legacy.
Sedona Public Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Donations may be sent to 3250 White Bear Road, Sedona Arizona, 86336.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
Virginia Volkman is Director of the Sedona Public Library.